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Easy swaps to give your house an instant upgrade

Easy, quick fixes, such as draping the end

Easy, quick fixes, such as draping the end of a bed with a throw, can help you fall in love with a space that used to be so-so. Credit: Getty Images/TNS/Christina Reichl Photography

Sometimes the simplest decorating swaps can yield the biggest returns. These one-hit-wonder changes will invigorate your spaces with minimal effort on your part. But be forewarned: One swap may make you want to do another … and another. But that's what makes decorating fun, right?

Add personality

Pillows Ditch the pillows that came with your sofa and layer in a contrasting color or pattern. Often these pillows have reusable forms and will fit inside new covers. Or if you're handy with a sewing machine, stitch new covers to size and you'll save the expense of new pillow forms.

Lampshades Most lampshades are plain white, which can stick out like a sore thumb in a room where color or muted neutrals reign. Replace them with something that blends in better.

Accessories The gold trend is here to stay, so swap your silver and work in a few gold accessories to a specific spot. If you want to start riding the next trend, go with copper or rose gold.

Curtains Ditch plain window treatments for something a little livelier. Keep the new curtains within the same color family as your old ones, and use the existing patterns in your room to determine the scale of the new treatments. For example, if you have small- and large-scale patterns in your room, opt for curtains in a medium-scale pattern.

Go for the luxury

Nightstands Clear off the unnecessary clutter from your nightstand, like receipts and random pens and add a few pretty accessories that make your bedroom feel more like a retreat and less like a dumping ground. Designate a drawer for the basics, such as chargers.

Beds Drape the end of the bed with a pretty throw that coordinates with your bedding and pillows, and you'll take the look to the next level.

Coffee tables Swap an ottoman for a coffee table, which is particularly effective if your coffee table is part of a matched set with your end tables. An upholstered ottoman softens a furniture arrangement and provides another opportunity to add pattern and color. Add a large tray to the top as a stable spot for drinks and accessories.

Lighten the look

Bulky furniture Replace solid-frame accent furniture, like end tables, with less bulky pieces that will make a space feel airier and more refined.

Bathrooms Swap out those blah, frameless builder-grade rectangles with a nonstandard mirror of a different shape or a model with an interesting trim detail (or both). And a new shower curtain will freshen up the space, too.

Palettes If your one pop of color feels like it's missing something, add another pop. Keep proportion in mind as you infuse color. Pair a smaller pop with a larger bang and you'll be on your way to success.

Get playful

Hardware Forge your own path with a mixed-and-matched set of knobs, pulls and bars.

Swap a plain ceiling for a colorful alternative

Ceilings In a room with white walls, a color-coated ceiling is an unexpected element that will command all the right attention.

Kitchens Start by identifying one spot that can be more style-driven than function-focused and incorporate a few just-for-fun pieces, such as pretty vintage dishes.

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